Much is hyped about the value and "magic" of social media marketing. Somehow people that love you and what you do gather together and say all kinds of nice things. Right? Well, maybe, if you know how to get the right kinds of attention from other influencers in your community.
This was the topic of a ClickZ Live New York session last week featuring Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Online Marketing.
The Biggest Barrier to Effective Content Marketing
Let's face it. The biggest barrier to effective content marketing is just cutting through all of the noise online. As users, we all face a dazzling and overwhelming overload of content served up by 24/7 social channels.
The competition for a devoted audience continues to increase, while the brand publisher is forced to do more with fewer and fewer resources. According to Odden's research, there are more than 254 million blogs in publication. Much of the content being created never actually reaches the audience it was intended.
How to Adjust Your Content Strategy to Compete
What is a brand to do in this highly saturated and competitive marketplace for content?
Brands need to move from mechanical to meaningful, and quit scaling content just because it "sticks" like spaghetti against the wall, Odden said.
Consumers seek out trusted expert content when considering a purchase. Expert content does more for brand familiarity, brand affinity, and purchase intent than a paid push of dry branded pablum.
Content marketing is social, and it's time to move along the content continuum from stasis to storytelling.
Stasis is the status quo. It's static and gets few resources. Production focuses on quantity strategy. It's more is better and SEO-centric.
Utility makes quality the focus and makes sure that content is functional and useful to the customer. It's social-centric. Quality content is what pulls the audience into the buying cycle.
Storytelling takes content beyond utility into creating an experience for your customers. Monetization is the maturity of the content into its own revenue source through publishing, syndication, and ad revenue. Evaluate where along that continuum your current content strategy falls, and adjust.
What is Influence?
What is influence and how does the engagement of influencers help move a brand's content message into something truly meaningful to an audience?
Influence isn't racking up 50,000 Twitter friends. "Influence is the swaying of beliefs, behaviors, or actions," according to Sam Fieorella, author of "Influence Marketing".
You can use content in connection with influencers to reach and connect to an impassioned audience. The more influencers you connect with, the more influence you gain yourself. It is the combination of content and influence that inspires action.
What is the Goal of Your Content?
The essential goal for content isn't about ranking and traffic, it's about being the best answer for your customers. What is your brand the best answer for? This line of thinking is also the goal you want to articulate to the influencers in your circle. The content needs to provide a solution for both you and the influencers you're engaged with.
The key to gaining the cooperation of influential experts is all about presenting them with a content opportunity that benefits them as much as it benefits you.
Conference speakers appreciate content that highlights their participation in an event and helps them fill a room. Event organizers appreciate content that brings their event in front of a fresh audience.
When it comes to co-creation of content, it's all about the mutually beneficial relationship. What itch can you help scratch?
Possible Co-Created Content Goals
- Change how a brand is perceived.
- Connect with a new audience of buyers.
- Support thought leadership.
- Support content and social marketing.
- Create relationships the experts.
- What do you want to be known for long term?
- What does your brand stand for?
- What do your customers care about?
Inspire Participation and Promotion
- Set expectations.
- Give examples: contributions and success.
- Communicate a timeline.
- Pre-write social shares.
- Make it easy to share, embed, and blog.
Performance Measurement Optimization Track everything!
- Grow your influencer network before you need them.
- Use content to create value for influencers to gain influence for yourself.
- Content is the short-term gain, but the relationships are where the gold is.